In Memoriam: Nigerians who died from cancer in 2016



So many humans around the world have died battling cancer and we cannot even exhaust the list if we started. This post, however, is in memory of them and a few of the people who are known/popular are listed here . The list will be updated, if you have more people to add.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said about 24.6 million people live with cancer worldwide while about 12.5 percent of all death is attributable to cancer. It further estimates that over 100,000 Nigerians are diagnosed with cancer yearly, while about 80,000 die from the disease.

This brings the consequences of the cancer epidemic to 240 Nigerians every day or 10 Nigerians every hour, dying from cancer. It also means that the country’s cancer death ratio of 4 in 5 affected persons is one of the worst in the whole world.

As a result of such sad statistics, the Nigerian Senate has already considered and passed its “Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment.”

The bill is meant to ensure that all forms of cancer disease are prevented, controlled and treated and care for cancer patients provided, with national strategies that focus on cancer research.

Below is a list of known Nigerians who died in the year 2016 after being diagnosed of the disease.

Dr. Nwabu Mgbemena

Image result for dr nwabu mgbemena

He was a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria. Dr Mgbemena died of cancer in April 22 at the age of 71. Mgbemena was one of the original nine editors employed at the inception of NAN in 1978. He later rose through the ranks to become the Editor-in-Chief, the General Manager and later the Managing Director of the agency.

Bukky Ajayi

Image result for bukky ajayi
A highly-talented veteran Nollywood actress, Bukky Ajayi died at the age of 82 and had had ill-health. One of her sons had said in an interview that she had a stroke some years back, that there was a time she also had cerebral malaria, she became diabetic, hypertensive and also suffered breast cancer.

Debbie Osarere Idiagbonya
The Nigerian ex-model died on April 1, 2016, after battling breast cancer for over five years. After a series of treatments, Debbie declared she was cancer-free in 2014 but her liver, bones and lungs had already been affected by the disease as her condition took a dive for worse. She spent her last moments at a hospital in Maryland, USA, where she had been receiving treatment.

Mayowa Ahmed


Very few people will forget Mayowa in a hurry. She had been diagnosed of Stage 4 Ovarian cancer patient before she passed away, in August 2016, in a South African hospital. Mayowa’s plight came to light when popular actress Toyin Aimakhu pleaded with Nigerians to raise money for her treatment and over N100 million was reportedly raised in a few days.

Dr Nkem Ezeilo
A health campaigner and the former General Secretary of the  Uncelebrated Nigerians Awards UK organising committee, Dr Nkem Ezeilo died after a lengthy cancer battle in September.
A graduate of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Dr Ezeilo ended up finishing her medical studies at the University of Papua New Guinea, where she emerged the overall best graduating student.

Seun Awoniyi

Image result for seun awoniyi

Wizkid‘s in-law, Seun Rowland Awoniyi died in a US hospital after a long battle with cancer. Awoniyi was Wizkid’s elder sister’s Yetunde Balogun husband with whom she had two children.

Adewale Ayuba’s mother-in-law

Enyi Ugodie-Ngozi Kwentoh-Obituary
Popular Fuji artiste Adewale Ayuba, lost his mother-in-law, Mrs Tina Ngozi Kwentoh in November 2016. Aged 68,  she died on Monday, November 14th, peacefully at her residence at in Texas, USA after a long struggle with cancer. She was born in Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria to Peter Achukwu and Nneka Celina Achukwu (nee Osemaka).


Hon. Omawunmi Udoh

Hon. Udoh was a member representing Warri South Constituency 1 at the Delta State House of Assembly. The fourth-term lawmaker who was of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) died in a London hospital in December 2016, of a cancer-related ailment.

Bola Davies

Image result for bola davies

Bola Davies was the Oyo/Osun Bureau chief of leading soft-sell magazine, City People. Her shocking death occurred on  October 19, 2016, after a brief illness that was cancer-related. She was the Deputy Editor of City People Magazine and was well known for the popular Ibadan Gist section. She was 46.

Adenike Ojeikere

Mrs. Adenike Ojeikere was a professional writer. She died after a prolonged battle with cancer and allegedly died in October 2016, on her birthday. She was a top member of the literary community in Ibadan.

Wole Sodipe

Image result for wole sodipe

Wole Sodipe, was one of the founding vice presidents of Platinum Bank, and was affectionately called  ‘The Oracle’. After a courageous 7-year battle with the cancer ailment, he died in November 2016. Mr. Sodipe won many awards as a  Chartered Accountant with over 21 years’ experience. Until recently, Mr. Wole Sodipe was the Managing Director, Keystone Africa. He was an alumnus of Institute of Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland; Moody’s Risk Management Services Inc of the United States of America; Neptune Software Institute, Croydon, England, United Kingdom, the International Development in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, and the prestigious Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, amongst others.

Olubunmi Odumusi


Mrs Odumusi was sworn into office by the Ogun state governor as a permanent secretary and died two days after. Her relatives said she died after a prolonged battle with cancer, after being at treated local and foreign hospitals at a huge financial cost.
A  journalist, joined the civil service and rose the position of director in the state Ministry of Information and Strategy. She was in the United States of America for medical treatment when she received the news of her‎ promotion as Permanent Secretary. She flew back to attend the inauguration and attended the event on a wheelchair.  She died in her sleep on September 2nd, aged 57.

Fred Agbaje

Image result for fred agbaje

Human rights lawyer and activist, Fred Agbaje is regarded as a legal icon and was one of the few top constitutional lawyers that Nigeria ever produced. He died while on admission at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, following a battle with cancer for which he had been in the United Kingdom for treatment, earlier in the year.

Here are a few other popular people  who are not Nigerians, but whose deaths are attributed to cancer

Koyo Bala


After a three-year battle with anal cancer‚ musician Koyo Bala died in March 2016 at a hospital in Cape Town surrounded by his three sisters. The 36-year-old singer was part of pop gay trio 3Sum – a pop band known in the entertainment industry as activists for gay rights.



South African musician, Mduduzi Edmund Tshabalala a.k.a Mandoza, died on September 18, 2016 after a long battle with cancer, which reportedly was brain tumour; it led to a complete loss of sight.

David Bowie

David Bowie's career spanned nearly 50 years.

The legendary singer had a career that spanned over 50 year. He slipped in and out of various personas and alter egos: most famously, the androgynous Ziggy Stardust, eccentric Aladdin Sane and drug-fueled The Thin White Duke, created during his mid-’70s Young Americans era. He hit critical and commercial highs in the 1980s with albums such as Tonight and Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). He died of cancer just two days after his 69th birthday on January 10, 2016.

Gwen Ifill

Gwen Ifill was one of America’s most prominent journalists. In 2009, she also wrote a book about President Obama, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. She covered seven presidential campaigns in her career and was the first African-American female journalist to moderate a vice-presidential debate. She died at age 61 after several months of cancer treatment.

René Angélil


Image result for rene angelil

He was a Canadian musical producer, talent manager and singer. He was the manager and husband of singer Celine Dion, till his death in January 2016.

Daniel Dion

Celine Dion suffered two family tragedies in 2016.  Her brother Daniel Dion also died of cancer, days after her husband René Angélil succumbed to it.

The Canadian pop singer’s rep confirmed the news and revealed Daniel suffered from cancer of the throat, tongue and brain.

Johan Cryuff


Barcelona and Dutch legend Johan Cruyff in March 2016 after battling cancer for years. The late Johan Cruyff was voted world player of the year three times, and guided Holland to the World Cup final in 1974.  He is responsible for initiating the possession based ‘tiki taka’ football and ‘total football’ skills currently played by Barcelona and many other football clubs today. He also played for Barcelona and Ajax clubs in his hey days.


May their souls rest in peace.





No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: